Dozens of Farmington Fire and Rescue Department personnel and others at the Fire Station salute as Capt. Scott Baxter arrives home 43 days after being critically injured in a propane explosion at the LEAP building on Farmington Falls Road. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

FARMINGTON — Roger Condit of Farmington waved an American flag Tuesday as the parade of emergency vehicles escorted Capt. Scott Baxter along Route 27 to the Fire Station 43 days after he was critically injured in a propane explosion.

Dozens of firefighters and others standing outside the station saluted and applauded Baxter on his arrival in a firetruck that blocked him from the public’s view to protect his privacy. He was released from a rehabilitation center in Portland earlier in the day, and picked up in a firetruck at the Rome town line on Route 27.

“I didn’t want to miss this,” Condit’s wife, Karyl, said. “It is very important to honor these men and everything they have been through. It is my way of saying thank you.”

She and her husband were among many people who lined the route, saluting and applauding the 37-year-old captain.

Roger Condit of Farmington, right, stands behind his wife, Karyl, and waves an American flag as a procession of emergency vehicles escort Farmington Fire Rescue Capt. Scott Baxter home on Tuesday. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

Mike Ladd of Farmington, who lives near the Fire Station, was among them.

“I bet they’re happy for Scott to come home,” Ladd said of Baxter’s family, friends and fellow firefighters.

He said he has watched the processions for each of the six injured firefighters as they were escorted home after the Sept. 16 blast that took the life of Capt. Michael A. Bell, 68.

He said he knows all of them involved in the explosion, including Chief Terry Bell, 62; Capt. Tim “TD” Hardy, 40; Deputy Chief Clyde Ross, 82; firefighter Theodore “Ted” Baxter, 64; and firefighter Joseph Hastings, 24.

Scott Baxter was the last one to return to Farmington after being hospitalized.

Ladd said he also knows Larry Lord, 61, of Jay, the LEAP maintenance supervisor who remains in serious condition at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He suffered severe burns over half of his body, broken bones and other injuries, according to information posted on a GoFundMe site.

“We missed them, Ladd said. “We are happy about them coming home. I can’t wait for them to go back to work. I am saddened about the loss of Capt. Bell.”

When firefighters are called to an emergency, Ladd said he can’t help but hear the sirens.

On the morning of Monday, Sept. 16, he was working at the Farmington Fair when the explosion at 313 Farmington Falls Road shook the fairground buildings, he said.

The blast occurred minutes after firefighters arrived at the office building where Lord reported the smell of propane in the basement and got about a dozen workers out.

Investigators discovered that some of the hundreds of gallons of propane pumped into a tank Sept. 13 had leaked from a broken line under the parking lot into the basement. What caused the leak and what sparked the explosion remain under investigation.

 

Mike Ladd of Farmington salutes a procession of emergency vehicles escorting Fire Rescue Capt. Scott Baxter to the Fire Station in Farmington on Tuesday, 43 days after he was injured in a propane explosion. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

People at the Farmington Fire Station applaud and salute injured Fire Rescue Capt. Scott Baxter as he is returned home in a firetruck Tuesday. He was released from a Portland rehabilitation center 43 days after being critically injured in a propane explosion. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

A firetruck carrying injured Farmington Fire Rescue Capt. Scott Baxter brings him home Tuesday, 43 days after he was critically injured in a deadly explosion. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal


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